Document Type


Publication Title

Biological Conservation



Rights and Access Note

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Publication Date


Publisher location

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Abstract/ Summary

Small natural features (SNFs), landscape elements that influence species persistence and ecological functioning on a much larger scale than one would expect from their size, can also offer a greater rate of return on conservation investment compared to that of larger natural features or more broad-based conservation. However, their size and perceived lack of significance also makes them more vulnerable to threats and destruction. We examine the management of SNFs and conservation of the associated ecosystem services they generate from an economics perspective. Using the economic concept of market failure, we identify three key themes that explain prevailing threats to SNFs and characterize impediments to and opportunities for SNF management: (1) the degree to which benefits derived from the feature spillover, beyond the feature itself (spatially and temporally); (2) the availability and quality of information about the feature and those who most directly influence its management; and (3) the existence and enforcement of property rights and legal standing of the feature. We argue that the efficacy of alternative SNF management approaches is highly case dependent and relies on four key components: (1) the specific ecosystem services of interest; (2) the amount of redundancy of the SNF on the landscape and the level of connectivity required by the SNF in order to provide ecosystem services; (3) the particular market failures that need correcting and their scope and extent; and (4) the magnitude and distribution of management costs.

Publisher Statement

©2017 Elsevier



post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)

Available for download on Sunday, April 21, 2019



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.